Between the Parks: Integrating Cultural and Community Resources in Landscape Scale Conservation Design and Planning (2014 – 2020)
Research supported by: The National Park Service, The Wildlife Management Institute, and The Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative
Research Partners: Penn State and the University of Georgia
FIBER Faculty: Tim Murtha
The complexities of land use and decision making in the context of climate change and urbanization necessitates creative approaches to landscape scale conservation. Integrating anthropological information early in the process is the critical purpose of our research. Our collaborative research investigatea complex ways to integrate cultural, visual, and social information into landscape scale natural resource conservation priorities. We are innovating methods to conduct this research, relying on advanced spatial technologies, crowd sourced data, and traditional ethnography. Our work initiated with Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, first defined by the Department of the Interior to tackle regional natural and cultural resource conservation in response to climate change. Each of the 22 cooperatives independently developed their own governance structures, conservation priorities, research projects, and decision-support tools. The LCC program is on hold, but our work continues and reveals how landscapes are embedded in a complex cultural and natural feedback systems. The research offers an important case study for describing these systems overlaid with complex dynamics of multi-stakeholder conservation planning.